Studies after studies have shown how improving English skills can boost your career prospects, as English is the World’s lingua franca, the most-used global language. If you are also among the ones who are trying to improve their English proficiency, you would be surprised to learn that two apps on your Android device you probably most use could help you immensely.
In any language learning, one of the key areas that you need to improve is vocabulary. You must always have come across previously unknown words when you are, say, reading a newspaper story on the Internet. Oftentimes, simply because you do not know the meaning or definition of the word(s), you may have given up reading the article altogether. In the old days, when they used to read something to learn the language, people would keep their dictionaries near so that they could find out the words and know the definition. But now this process is easier than ever.
How to use Google Translate to boost your English vocabulary
Whenever you come up across an unknown word online, you could search it on Google in a new tab on the browser. But Google Translate has a feature that allows you to see the meaning of the word instantly right on the current page, without having to open a new tab. In the process, you would be able to read complex texts seamlessly, without the distraction that comes with opening a new tab.
You need to enable this feature manually. To activate the feature, called “Tap to Translate,” follow the steps given below:
- First, install Google Translate app from Play Store if you haven’t already.
- Open the app. Navigate: Menu >> Settings >> Tap to Translate.
- Now tap on “Enable Tap to Translate”
- Then, tap on “Preferred languages”. In “Your primary language”, select your native language in which you prefer to have the meaning or definition translated.
- In the option called “Language you translate most often”, I recommend to set “Detect language”.
Now it’s time to see how the feature works in real life.
- Launch any article or web-page on a browser.
- Tap on a text to know its meaning. Copy the text.
- A Translate icon will appear. Touch that and it will show the result inside the app or browser.
- If the abovementioned method doesn’t work for your smartphone, there is another way.
- When you highlight or tap on a text, several options (such as Copy, Share, Select All) will appear. Then, there is a three-dotted more icon. Tap on that, a few more options will emerge. Among them is an option named “Translate”. Touch it, and it will work.
To have a better understanding of this feature of Google Translate, you could watch the video:
When and if Google Translate does not suffice
However, not always you can have a satisfactory answer or meaning from the app. Since Google Translate is dependent on contributions from volunteers and translators, the authenticity or availability of the meaning of a word depends on how enriched your local language is online.
I would recommend that instead of selecting a sentence or multiple words, try to tap on a single word or text to know its meaning. By this, you would avail more accurate results.
How Chrome can help improve your English skills
Google Chrome is pre-installed on almost all Android smartphones. This browser has a special feature that would be helpful to you.
Its “Touch to Search” feature is very much useful for a host of reasons including improving your English skills. For example, when you read an article, you might encounter an unknown word, phrase or term and Google Translate cannot provide a useful result, then what?
The “Touch to Search” option of Google Chrome is pre-enabled nowadays. But if your browser does not show a Google search button at the bottom of the screen when you highlight or select a text, then you need to enable it manually.
- First, install the Chrome from Play Store, if you don’t have it already.
- Now open the Chrome and tap on to three-dotted icon at the top-right corner, as shown in the screenshot. A number of options will appear.
- Touch on “Settings” and then “Privacy” (just below “Advanced” tab).
- Scroll down a bit and you will see an option namely “Touch to Search”. Tap on the option. And then shift the toggle from “Off” to “On”.
After you have enabled the “Touch to Search” feature, whenever you highlight or tap on a text, a search button will appear. If you touch on the button, it will show a search result with the best possible details about the highlighted word or term without launching a new tab. So while you are reading, you don’t get distracted, rather you can continue reading smoothly.
- After you have enabled the “Touch to Search” feature, go to any random web-page. Now, long press or tap on any word or text to select. Then touch the search box.
- Without triggering a new tab, right on the current web-page, a page with search results will appear.
So how can this feature help you? If you encounter an unknown word, tap on it and use the search button. The result will also include the dictionary meaning or definition of the selected word. So, you will not have to open a dictionary or a dictionary app or even a new tab.
Credit: Icon images are collected from Google Support Forum.